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Findings from around the Internet.

 

“the geckos have a limited food supply”

July 29, 2014

67 years ago, the US sent fruit flies into space inside a V-2 rocket to see if they could survive the radiation. Thus began a long and storied history of bringing animals off planet to explore what happens when gravity disappears. One of the latest: a Russian satellite called Foton-M No. 4 that was launched into orbit last week containing fruit flies once again. But this time there were also five geckos, whose sex lives were going to be studied on camera — for science. That was until one of the engines controlling the satellite stopped responding to ground commands that were trying to raise the vessel into a higher orbit.

According to a representative for Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological problems who spoke with Agence France-Presse, all other parts of the satellite are working as expected, including life support systems that will keep the experiments running. Scientists are also able to remotely monitor data that’s being sent back. However, the geckos have a limited food supply that could run out in just two and a half months, which could happen long before the satellite falls out of orbit and back down towards Earth, says The Guardian. In the meantime, officials are attempting to restore communication with the satellite.

Read More | “Russia has lost control of a gecko sex experiment in space” | Josh Lowensohn | The Verge

 

“‘I don’t fight for free,’ she said. ‘Don’t worry.’”

July 28, 2014

In M.M.A., more than in most sports, athletes must be promoters, too. Rousey is smart enough to know that one of her promotional assets is the way she looks—she has appeared on the cover of not only ESPN the Magazine but also Maxim, which called her “Badass & Blonde,” and photographed her in a garment that seemed highly unsuitable for combat. Of course, this asset can be a liability, too, especially for a female fighter seeking the same respect given her male counterparts. Rousey is five feet six, and even someone who didn’t recognize her might guess, glancing at her powerful arms and shoulders, that she was some sort of athlete. But while some fighters strike an impassive pose, shrugging off questions the way they shrug off the dangers of the cage, Rousey is nothing if not expressive. She smiles often, squinting so tightly that her eyes disappear. She cries easily, a girlhood habit she never outgrew. And before each fight she glares at her opponent as if she were getting ready to put a permanent end to a lifelong feud. After the fight, she is all smiles again, and usually unblemished. “Somebody told me once that it’s the pretty fighters you have to watch out for,” she says, slyly. “If someone’s all gnarled and mangled up, obviously they’ve been getting hit a lot.”

Rousey speaks more or less the way she fights: in measured provocations, never committing herself to a gambit that she can’t defend. When KTLA cut to her in the gym, she talked politely about McMann’s wrestling achievements, and about their parallel careers: McMann won a silver medal in wrestling at the Athens Olympics, while Rousey took bronze in judo at Beijing. The goal, after all, was to persuade fans to pay $54.99 to watch the two women fight, live from Las Vegas, on pay-per-view. But once the cameras left she assessed her chances more candidly. She predicted that McMann would fall back on her old wrestling moves for fear of Rousey’s brutal arm bar. “I don’t think that this matches up well for her,” she said. “I wouldn’t say that in a pre-fight interview, and I haven’t. Because it doesn’t make sense in order to sell it. I need people to doubt me.” She laughed. “And, besides, these guys”—she nodded toward Tarverdyan and his assistants—“put large sums of money on me winning, and they always get shitty odds. So I want to help them out.” She looked up. “Edmond, do you know the Vegas odds for this?”

“Three-ninety-five,” he called back. A bettor would have had to lay three hundred and ninety-five dollars on Rousey in order to make a hundred if she won. Still, that meant the oddsmakers were giving McMann a better chance than they had given many of Rousey’s previous opponents.

Read More | “Mean Girl: Why the world’s best female fighter loves to be hated” | Kelefah Sanneh | The New Yorker

 

“overindulgent self-awareness is endemic to art-in-general”

July 25, 2014

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One of my main missions is to de-stigmatize the internet as a narcissistic guilt trip. We all long for affection, and social media can be a wonderful way of meeting people you would not have found in any other way. If someone takes a selfie and you see something in their eyes that you can relate to, it is pure magic; we are examining ourselves refracted through a couple thousand followers, creating an ever more prismatic version of identity. It’s possible that this could dispel a notion of rigid self-identity and begin to vaporize the ego into a collective expression and ethical experience of reality. We are already developing psychic abilities and ways of diminishing the lines that separate you from me. Last night at 5am I was lying in bed and you (Jesse) liked the picture of my cat I had posted to Instagram. There is a lot of information that remains unshared in the process but we were also brought together in the moment and I love that. I live for that ecstatic bliss of being that we can achieve if we open our hearts to really loving ourselves and sharing that self-love with one another. I don’t think that selfies solve the problem, but I think they can be a step towards self-acceptance that can be further explored as we inevitably thrust onwards in this vision of the future.

Read More | “Artist Profile: Genevieve Belleveau” | Jesse Darling | Rhizome

 

“We were soldiers in a wide variety of units and positions in the Israeli military—a fact we now regret”

July 23, 2014

Israeli Defense Forces tweeted this picture of rockets over London to justify its Gaza invasion.

In our service, we found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren’t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. In truth, the entire military is implicated. For that reason, we now refuse to participate in our reserve duties, and we support all those who resist being called to service.

The Israeli Army, a fundamental part of Israelis’ lives, is also the power that rules over the Palestinians living in the territories occupied in 1967. As long as it exists in its current structure, its language and mindset control us: We divide the world into good and evil according to the military’s categories; the military serves as the leading authority on who is valued more and who less in society — who is more responsible for the occupation, who is allowed to vocalize their resistance to it and who isn’t, and how they are allowed to do it. The military plays a central role in every action plan and proposal discussed in the national conversation, which explains the absence of any real argument about non-military solutions to the conflicts Israel has been locked in with its neighbors.

The Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are deprived of civil rights and human rights. They live under a different legal system from their Jewish neighbors. This is not exclusively the fault of soldiers who operate in these territories. Those troops are, therefore, not the only ones obligated to refuse. Many of us served in logistical and bureaucratic support roles; there, we found that the entire military helps implement the oppression of the Palestinians.

Read More | “We Are Israeli Reservists. We Refuse to Serve.” | Yael Even Or | Washington Post

 

“If flying a white flag atop the Brooklyn Bridge is someone’s idea of a joke, I’m not laughing”

July 22, 2014

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In a stunning security breach, the giant American flags at the top of both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge were replaced by white-painted flags overnight, cops said Tuesday.

Emergency Services cops lowered the two rogue flags — which are the traditional symbol for “surrender” — and packed them up along with what appeared to be painting supplies.

The discovery was made sometime this morning.

Police are trying to figure out how someone was able to gain access to the bridge, which has patrol cars stationed on both sides and also has security cameras.

Read More | “White flags fly from Brooklyn Bridge in stunning security breach” | Natasha Velez and Larry Celona | New York Post